At first glance, it appeared that Affliction’s first-ever pay-per-view on July 19 in Anaheim was a relative success story. It was announced that the Honda Center sold out for “Banned” and Tom Atencio, the company’s Vice President, stated that PPV buys were expected to be over 100,000.
While the 100,000 mark would have been well short of the UFC’s average, it still would have been a milestone for the fledgling company, as it would have represented the highest total in MMA for a non-UFC PPV in the United States.
However, it appears that Atencio may have mis-spoke, as Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports is indicating that early-cable estimates peg the buys in a range between 50,000-85,000. It had been believed that the event would need to do 250,000-300,000 buys to have a chance to break even.
Steve Cofield, another writer for Yahoo! Sports, also raised some questions about Affliction’s attendance figures last week. According to the California State Atheltic Commission, “Banned” was a sellout with 14,832 people attending. However, after speaking with fellow Yahoo! Sports columnist Kevin Iole, Cofield revealed that Affliction may have padded their attendance totals.
“I had a source tell me that Affliction bought $500,000 of those tickets and that goes into the gate,” Iole is quoted. “(Atencio) admitted that they bought a large number of tickets.”
Apparently the inflating didn’t stop there.
“Anybody who went to the arena on Saturday to purchase a ticket, was able to buy a ticket for $39.95 no matter what price range it was in,” Iole continued. “They discounted all the tickets to $39.95. As a result, the tax on (the ticket) is paid by the promoter so they can say it sold as a $500 or $1000 ticket. It happens in boxing all the time.”